Federal regulators ordered a truck driver involved in a fatal crash off the road after discovering he had a medical condition that disqualifies him from driving.
Johnny B. Felton lost consciousness at the wheel of his truck, which then struck and killed Illinois State Trooper Kyle Deatherage near Litchfield, Ill., on Nov. 26.
Investigators discovered Felton concealed his condition, which the FMCSA did not identify, and the fact that he was taking prescription drugs from a state medical examiner.
Several medical conditions disqualify a driver from holding a commercial driver's license, including diabetes and some cardiovascular and respitory ailments.
Felton was licensed in Georgia and worked for DOT Transportation, a less-than-truckload food distributor based in Mount Sterling, Ill., according to the agency.
“This case sends a clear message that we will use every tool at our disposal to identify and remove from our roads unsafe operators,” FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro said.
The high-level action against an individual truck driver may be unusual, but the FMCSA has been cracking down on unsafe trucking companies, closing several firms this year.
The agency last month ordered Illinois-based C&D Transportation off the road, citing violations of driver and truck safety rules and a previous out-of-service order.
Congress gave the FMCSA greater enforcement powers in the latest surface transportation law, and the agency last month proposed new rules to implement them.
Those rules would allow the FMCSA to pursue not just carriers that wilfully violate regulations, but to identify and penalize the company's managers and owners.
The rules would make it harder for individuals to restart operations placed out of service or switch assets and customers to another related carrier.